Marc D. Angel, Rabbi emeritus of Congregation Shearith Israel, the historic Spanish and Portuguese synagogue in New York City.
Rhodes is a small island, just off the Turkish Coast, with a history that is as colorful as the natural beauty of the island. According to famous Jewish historian Abraham Galant, as the 16th century opened, Cardinal D'Aubusson of Rhodes initiated forced conversion of the Jews to Catholicism and other persecutions. His intended expulsions were rescinded only because he died suddenly. Soon after, Christian pirates captured more than 2000 Jews and forced them to work on fortifications. When the Turks, under Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566) besieged the island, the Jews sided with the invader, who was victorious.